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0f0003 | maschinenkunst on Tue, 30 Jan 2007 04:18:34 +0100 (CET)

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>>From:          "Alex Foti" <alex.foti {AT} gmail.com>

this is ur secularism \ aka fascism, rational occident mf



EU clash with Romanian tradition

Modern farming methods threaten isolated communities.

The peasants of Romania have until midsummer to make their locally produced
cheese, milk, eggs and meat conform to the strict food safety standards of
the European Union or they face oblivion.

The small road winds steeply up through a valley beside a stream, past
beech trees, oaks, and further up, thick stands of pines.

It should be almost impassable, in this season, because of the snow. But
this year there are only a few stray strands of distant white, like wool
caught on the rocks, as we reach Tilisca, then Gales, then Poiana Sibiului
- the largest of the shepherding villages. And finally Gina, our

Everything has the sweet, musty smell of sheep here - the main street, the
mayor's office, but most overpowering of all, the cheese cellars.

Elena and Sawa, sisters whose families own 250 sheep or so apiece, scoop
great square ingots of rich cream-coloured cheese out of the pine barrels
for me to sample. It tastes rather like Greek feta.

The cheese rests here, in salted water, waiting for the trip to market in
Bucharest - six hours drive to the south.

Those in the village who do not have sheep transport the cheese and do the
selling - in 20 or so big open markets in the capital where sheep's cheese
from Sibiu - brinza they call it here - is especially prized. In fact it is
a key ingredient, grated into Romania's national dish - polenta.

=46rom the window of the mayor's office, every green hilltop, as far as the
eye can see, is neatly fenced off into sheep folds.

But there is hardly a sheep to be seen - the men take them down to the
plains each October, as they have done for centuries, to escape the
mountain snows and ice.

Georghe walks for two months, to Baia Mare in the north. Others herd them
down to the Danube delta, where their charges bleat beneath the honking
geese from Siberia, who winter there also.

=46ood safety

In Prince Michael of Wallachia's time, in the 14th Century, the shepherds
of this strip of the Carpathians had the right to pasture their sheep as
far away as the Crimean peninsula. Sometimes they were gone for years.

Under the Austro-Hungarian monarchy, they carried carved wooden passports -
each sheep notched on the back. For centuries they have battled with the
wolves and bears which still cling, like them, to these mountains.

But now they face the biggest danger yet, the bureaucrats of Bucharest and

"I'm not against traditional producers," says Marian Avram, the head of the
=46ood Safety Inspectorate in the Romanian capital. "But I am against
extremist traditionalism."

=46or a moment he makes it sound like the latest front in the war on terror.

EU regulations threaten the future of many farmers.

"The peasants only have themselves to blame," he continues, "squandering
their income on luxury cars, instead of investing it in milking

Over mouthfuls of salty cheese in her cellar, I ask Elena about luxury
automobiles. "I married at 17," she says. "We've got a horse, but we've
never had a car."

Her family makes roughly 2,500 kilos of cheese a year. Ten kilos per sheep,
in the milking months from May to October which they sell to the merchants
for up to 10 New Lei (=A32) a kilo.

It is their only cash crop. And they have to pay for fodder in winter, and
the rent of the meadows in summer.

The new law will speed up the end of a way of life already in decline

The men bring the sheep back to the mountains at Easter, and all the family
helps in the sheepfolds, milking morning and evening, and making the

The most remote sheepfolds can be six hours walk from the nearest road. But
now the new regulations encourage the building of cheese factories with
stainless steel vats, instead of wooden barrels, within easy reach of the

"In the summer heat, how are we going to get the milk to the main road?"
ask the shepherds.

"And where will the money come from to build factories?"

"And anyway the cheese wouldn't taste the same", an old man outside the
mayor's office tells me.

Getting lonelier

The new regulations leave one loophole - to register as traditional
producers. But can all the documents be filled out in time? Will inspectors
have to check each and every sheep - 39,000 belong to the shepherds of Gina
alone - and nearer 50,000 in the biggest village.

The system seems tilted, as ever, to factory production, supplying
spotless, sanitised supermarkets with identical items. But do you actually
like the taste of brinza? I asked the chief inspector. "Yes," he replied,
"if I'm sure it's not going to poison me".

In her front room in Gina, Maria Sterp sings of the life in the mountains
in her youth.

The handsome, flute-playing shepherds, the maids-a-milking, and the
children, rounding up the animals.

Young people want to watch television, and play on computers nowadays, not
look after sheep, she laments.

The new law will speed up the end of a way of life already in decline. Year
by year, the mountains are getting lonelier, she sings. Soon the only
people left will be tourists.

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